HIV: Is There Any Effective Diagnosis for HIV/AIDS?
If you didn’t know about it already, HIV is short for the human immunodeficiency virus. It is a virus that attacks and damages the immune system such as CD4+ T cells, dendritic cells and macrophages cells of the infected body. By damaging the immune system, HIV reduces the body’s ability to fight against many other diseases and infections. It also causes the spectrum of a life-threatening disease called AIDS (Acquired immunodeficiency syndrome).
Anyhow, one important thing to note is that not all HIV positive people develop AIDS. Once infected, the virus starts to attack the immune system, which may eventually develop into AIDS. Depending on the person, it can take anything from months to years to develop AIDS because of HIV infection. Almost half the people develop the disease within 10 years of getting infected with HIV.
Symptoms of AIDS
If there is no consistent timetable for AIDS to develop after the viral infection, how do you know that you have AIDS? The process is multi-folded, which includes both symptoms and diagnosis.
The symptoms vary depending on the stages of HIV infections the subject is in. The most commonly seen among the affected people are:
- Stage 1: In this stage, the symptoms are normal flu - fever, sore throat, mouth ulcers, rash, muscle aches, night sweats, etc.
- Stage 2: Known as the clinical latency stage, HIV infection is very difficult to detect at this stage as the patients show little to symptoms.
- Stage 3: This is the stage where one perhaps already developed AIDS. The symptoms include rapid weight loss, unusual tiredness, long-lasting diarrhoea, recurring fever, pneumonia, soreness in the mouth, anus, and genitals, etc. It can also show some neurological disorders like depression, memory loss, and such.
Diagnosis of HIV/ AIDS
There are mainly three types of diagnosis for HIV/ AIDS. These are:
- NATs are a very expensive test that looks for the presence of the actual virus in the blood.
- Antigen tests to find out whether your body is producing any antibodies to tackle the virus infection.
- Antibody tests to find any HIV antibodies in your blood or oral fluids.
There is also a home test kit for easy diagnosis of HIV/AIDS. However, as not every diagnosis is suitable for everyone, you should consult a doctor before for the confirmation of HIV and AIDS.